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Note: Please check the Human Resources Department Job Requisitions for current openings or click here.
An emergency communications dispatcher is a trained professional who specializes in facilitating communications between our citizens and the various entities in emergency and non-emergency situations. The majority of the situations involve the safety and welfare of the public. Dispatchers, in resolving calls for assistance, routinely make critical decisions. Bucks County Department of Emergency Communications handles a call volume that requires skilled employees.
Basic Information Regarding the Dispatcher Position:
Receives calls from the general public regarding EMS/fire/police situations; taking and processing these calls using telephone, radio and computer equipment.
Is the liaison between the citizens and emergency services personnel along with other governmental agencies.
Maintains an accurate record of system users in regards to location, availability and safety.
Cooperates with system users.
Sends teletypes via CLEAN/NCIC to other governmental agencies about crimes committed in Bucks County, to assist in apprehension.
Learns and maintains a knowledge of the County and municipal boundaries.
Subject to 24-hour call, being forced to hold over or being forced to come in early to fulfill department manpower needs.
Reports unusual/questionable items/issues to supervisors.
Obeys all safety rules and regulations.
Obeys all county/departmental rules and regulations regarding their position to comply with any local, state and national standards.
Performs similar or related duties as assigned by a supervisor or department manager.
Positions and Advancement (with pre-requisites; pay rates as of 2016):
Dispatcher Trainee: (per-diem, 30 hours per week) is the entry-level position after being hired. If the Dispatcher passes all basic training segments and there are no probationary positions available, the employee will be additionally be provided with per-diem benefits. Training takes approx. 20 weeks. Starting rate for training is $13.52/hour.
Dispatcher-I probationary (full-time, 40 hours/week): is the position that a properly certified and trained Dispatcher Trainee is eligible for full-time benefits when the position is available: Pay rate is $25.19/hour, $52,392.00 annual.
Dispatcher-I (full-time): is the position that a Probationary Dispatcher-I will advance to only after serving 6-months of mandatory probation as well attaining successful monthly performance evaluations. Pay rate is $25.69/hour, $53,440.00 annual.
Dispatcher-III (supervisory level / primary communications training officers): Minimum Dispatcher- I years and experience pre-requisites must be met and a position must be open for it to be filled.
Emergency Communications Management level positions: Minimum service time as a supervising Dispatcher-III experience pre-requisites must be met and a position must be open for it to be filled.
Technical Staff opportunities: For qualified individuals with radio technology background, Bucks County Emergency Communications is supported by a trained staff of electronics/radio technicians.
Basic Training Schedule Overview
Your training schedule: (Class Room Phase & On-the-Job (OJT) Training Phase)
All new hires are assigned to the training division for the first 18-20 weeks of your training (class-room & OJT phases). Classes will be conducted during the weekdays between the hours of 8:00am-4:30pm. (for OJT scheduling see next paragraph).
Following the classroom and OJT phases the trainee will be placed on probation. During these periods you will be working at the per-diem rate, but, once a full time probationary position opens you will be placed into the position as long as your knowledge, skills and abilities are at acceptable levels. Thus, full-time status is earned by your performance. We make every effort to provide an ample environment to succeed.
Those who are not successful in completing any of the classroom modules; ( Bucks County specifics, Associated Public Safety Communications Officials, International (APCO) Institute certifications, American Heart Association CPR, classroom, OJT or probationary phases) will be terminated.
Basic Training On-Console (OJT) Shifts:
During the OJT (On-the-Job Training) phase the trainee will be assigned to a Communications Training Officer (CTO) or training dispatcher and will follow their schedule. Shift rotation (different working times) may occur. You will be given an OJT schedule ahead of time for the entire OJT Phase.
Post-Basic Training Shift Assignments:
In successful completion of OJT, probationary dispatchers will be assigned to either fill in openings in the schedule (on any shift) or assigned to fill-in a specific 8-hour or 12-hour shift rotation, which may continue for part of your probationary period.
Once your permanent schedule is assigned you will receive a printout for the entire year listing your work days and days off. You will then normally be assigned to work a 12-hour shift. (Example: 6pm-6am, 330pm-330am, etc.). The day shifts are considered premium shifts and are issued by seniority (6am-6pm). Successful students being assigned to shifts should plan on being assigned to additional shifts as needed (being held over or called in early or on a day off).
Full-time status is earned. The individuals, who give 100%, are routinely on time, proper attendance, will get full-time first. This will be determined by the employee's performance as evidenced in their training and probationary documentation and by management approval.
Recruitment / Screening / Selection:
During the periods when we are accepting applications for employment, Bucks County Emergency Communications actively participates in recruiting activities. When open position are approved the Bucks County Human Resources will post the announcement that applications are now being accepted for Dispatcher Trainee positions on the web site.
Note: Please check the Human Resources Department Job Requisitions for current opening or click here.
Much of our recruitment efforts are via our internet web page as well as publishing announcements to our many local emergency services agencies. In order to ensure we operate with skilled employees the Emergency Communications Department carefully screens applicants prior to offering a position of employment. Here is a basic list of items used to screen our applicants:
No criminal background: All applicants are screened through local and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania criminal justice files as well as through the National Crime Information Center database. Anyone with a prior criminal record is disqualified.
Keyboarding skills minimum: All applicants must be able to type a minimum of 30 words per minute (WPM - corrected). Those unable to attain the minimum WPM are disqualified.
Applicants who pass the first two screens are invited to participate in our pre-employment examinations:
First level Written Exam: A study guide for a local preliminary written exam is provided to help applicants prepare for the local exam. (The study of any Bucks County map or map book that identifies county townships, boroughs, towns, hamlets and major road/highways will also help to prepare an applicant for this exam.) The local exam is comprised of geographic knowledge and information. This is a written exam.
First level Computer Skills Exam: All applicants are also tested for the following skills: basic computer operations, short-term memory, reading comprehension, reaction time, multitasking, and verbal communications (this list is not all inclusive). This test is a computer-based test using a headset/microphone, keyboard and mouse.
Exam results: Exam results are provided within 24 hours of taking the exams. Applicants must receive a passing grade on both exams in order to be permitted to continue in the selection process. Those who do not pass one or both exams are disqualified.
Interview Invitations: Applicants who pass the examinations are then scheduled for a personal interview with department managers (interview board has 3 members). Interviews last approximately 45-60 minutes including time for the applicant to ask questions at the end. The interviews are scored (thus, being on time for the interview counts).
Second Level Written Testing: A second and final exam battery will be given to all high-scoring interview candidates. This testing involves interpersonal communications and related questionnaire, visual acuity and knowledge assessments.
We will then review previous work histories of those who were interviewed. The results of this review will create a finalists list. Those at the top of the list (via overall scoring, job history and management deliberation) will be the first to receive job offers. The number of people selected for hire will depend upon the number of positions open at that time.
The applicants that are tested and interviewed and are not selected will be able to reapply after one year from the test date.
Department of Emergency Communications
Audrey R. Kenny
Director / 911 Coordinator
Bucks County Department of Emergency Communications / 911 Center
Bucks County Emergency Services Complex
911 Freedom Way
Ivyland, PA 18974